6.5 Overall Score

Shooting Feels Right | Co-Op and Shadow Wars Are A Blast | Arkfalls Add Variety

Terrible Storytelling and Bad Voice Acting | Incredibly Repetitious | Some Micro-Transactions Feel Overpriced

Written by on April 18, 2013 in [, , , ]


What happens when a game and TV show are developed simultaneously, in order to cross promote one another? You get Defiance, the latest MMO from Rift developer Trion Worlds. Before the game launched, we previewed it and it showed some promise. However, due to a myriad of small issues, the game is held back from greatness.

Defiance is set in a near future world, when a collective group of aliens, known as the Votan, attempted to colonize Earth for themselves by terraforming it. Following a massive war between the Votan and humanity, a tenuous peace has emerged. During this war, a number of ships became derelict in space, leaving a great deal of debris to fall from the sky (including Ark technology, which was used to terraform the Earth). You play as an Ark hunter, whose goal it is to recover this debris when it falls to Earth. Additionally, you find yourself helping out various factions, including Von Bach Industries who are attempting to use the Ark technology to “fix” the planet.

However, much of this story is lost in the game. The writing feels empty and bland. Voice acting is downright bad most of the time, and not even laughably so. There are massive holes in the story that the game simply doesn’t fill in all that well. It feels like all of the best writing went into the TV show. The only reason I was able to follow what was happening was because I watched the series premier of the television series.


Even with that though, the TV series at this moment does little to connect to the game. There is a quest line featuring two of the characters from the TV series. However, outside of this single quest line (which was only temporarily available to players before the series premier), the only thing linking the TV series and the game is the fact that they take place in the same world with the same species of aliens.

The game itself is a third person shooter and, for the most part these gameplay mechanics work wonderfully. While it’s not a first person game, it often feels like a Borderlands lite with various weapons having different stats and effects. Additionally, the game features a system known as “Ego” which allows your character to choose from one of four basic combat abilities to start the game. Overcharge deals extra damage, Cloak turns you invisible, Decoy creates a clone for enemies to attack while you sneak up on them and Blur increases your speed. They allow for a wide variety of play styles and the massive tech tree surrounding how you upgrade these abilities leaves a lot of room for improvement.


While the mechanics feel wonderful, the mission structure feels fairly repetitive. Most of the main quest missions consist of going to an area, killing everyone in the area, hitting three to five buttons and protecting someone from being shot. By the time you are near the end of the main quest line, you can almost predict the game like clockwork.

It’s a shame too, because the game does have a ton of side content. There are plenty of basic side quests, but they share many of the same repetition problems of the main quest line. Additionally, there are races which allow you to use your in-game vehicle to try to beat specific times. Defiance also features various dynamic side missions that pop up around the world every so often, though again these feature the same problems of the main missions as there simply isn’t enough variety.


The real stars of these side missions are the Arkfalls. Every so often a piece of debris will randomly land in the world. You and any number of other players can join forces to try to reclaim the Ark technology. Various forces will try to stop you from doing so, though, so you need to be on your toes. Small Arkfalls can be completed in a few minutes, depending on how many players you have, as they mostly consist of shooting everything until its dead or until you destroy the debris protecting the Ark.

Major Arkfalls are a whole different story. A major Arkfall will require you to destroy up to five smaller Arkfalls before finally teaming up to beat a major boss encounter. Even with a ton of players, these can be incredibly difficult and add a ton of fun to the experience. What makes them even more fun is that they take place in the main world, meaning anyone can simply join in by being there.


The various PvP and co-op modes add a bit more variety as well. Co-op missions feature decent boss fights, which often require some amount of strategy. This is a stark contrast to many of the main game’s enemies, whom you simply have to shoot anywhere to win. Shadow War is the star PvP mode, featuring over a hundred players battling it out for various control points. It’s an absolute blast to play and hopefully Trion will add more mission types down the road.

Being an MMO without a subscription model, the game features a store to buy various items. While some of these are items like outfits and various XP boosts (most of which don’t feel like they effect the game that much), the game does feature lock boxes. These lock boxes are similar to the ones in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer which randomly give you items, depending on which tier you buy, using real money or in-game currency. It does feel like a bit of a rip-off, since I personally have only every found one or two weapons that I ever used for any length of time.


Additionally, the pricing seems very off. While some things are cheaper, outfits for your character can cost over $10 to purchase, and this doesn’t even include a helmet. While you can gain more outfits by completing various missions in-game, it still feels somewhat off to pay that much for something so unimportant, since outfits have zero effect on your character’s stats.

Defiance is a game that could have been great. The core of the game is solid enough to keep you entertained for a while, but eventually the game just begins to grind on you. The story and voice acting is just bad and it feels like you have to watch the TV series to get anything out of it. Additionally, the mission structure is incredibly repetitive. It really feels like the game was rushed out to debut alongside the TV show. It’s a shame because Trion could have made something really amazing.

A copy of Defiance was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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